Friday, March 7, 2014

300: Rise of an Empire

My View300: Rise of an Empire  (2014) R  Greek General, Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton), leads his forces against the invading Persian forces led by the mortal-turned-god, Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and the commander of the Persian navy, Artemisia (Eva Green).  No one will leave the theatre after this film saying, “I wish there had been more blood gushing on-screen in slow motion.” The film isn’t bad as action films go, with plenty of massive battle scenes, but I had two problems with the film.  One, the lead actor, Sullivan Stapleton, has absolutely no charisma, so we don’t see any reason why he inspires his men to battle against insurmountable odds.  Second, most of the battle sequences are fought on the water in big ships, which make the scenes very dark.  The two things I loved about the original 300 was Gerard Butler just filled the screen with his presence, and you believed it when he said “Prepare for Glory!”  Second, the first 300 was filled with bright colors and action in sunlight, which made the battle sequences a fest for the eyes.  This isn’t a horrible film, it’s just a little boring both in its storyline and appearance.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  300: Rise of an Empire Website

Family FaireMr. Peabody and Sherman (2014) PG  Mr. Peabody (Ty Burrell)  is the world’s smartest dog. When Sherman (Max Charles), Mr. Peabody’s adopted son, uses a time machine to impress a girl, it causes problems. Now, Mr. Peabody and Sherman must travel across time and try and repair the damage. If they don’t succeed, the world as they know it, could come to an end.  Kids will enjoy this film.  It’s filled with bright animated scenes and full of action.  Adults will enjoy a few of the jokes and a few animated cameo scenes.  The film isn’t horrible, it’s just sort of bland, and it’s certainly not worth paying the extra money to see it in 3-D.  My Rating:  Cable  Mr. Peabody & Sherman Website

IndiefestTim’s Vermeer (2014) PG-13  A modern day inventor, Tim Jenison, decides to investigate how Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer created his photo-like paintings.  Jenison becomes convinced in his research that Vermeer used some sort of projection device to help his paintings become so lifelike.  Jenison spends years trying to prove this to the art world.  This is a fascinating documentary about one man’s obsession to prove his theory.  Tim, a San Antonio inventor, takes  two hundred days to finish his project in hopes of proving his ideas.  The film moves at a quick pace, is informative, and, at times, really funny.  It’s helped by clever graphics and narrator Penn Jilette (of Penn and Teller fame).  After seeing this film, you will view paintings in a whole new light.  My Rating:  Full Price  Tim's Vermeer Website  

IndiefestThe Bag Man (2014) R Jack (John Cusack) is hired by Dragna (Robert De Niro), a mysterious businessman, to take a bag to a seedy motel in the Louisiana swamps.  Jack meets all kinds of people at the motel, including the motel manager (Cripsin Glover), a one-eyed pimp (Sticky Finqaz), and a 6 foot tall hooker (Rebecca Da Costa).  It seems like everyone in the area is interested in getting the bag from Jack, one way or another.  This film never quite gets up a head of steam, as it seems to be stuck in the Louisiana swamp where the film takes place.  I enjoyed (as usual) the performances of Cusack and De Niro (who plays his part impressively restrained), but the rest of the cast seem stuck in parts that are horribly written.  It’s a film that should have been much better because of the leads, but just doesn’t work as a modern day Film Noir piece.  My Rating:  Cable  The Bag Man Website

Forgotten FilmBirdy  (1984)  R  Birdy (Matthew Modine) and Al (Nicolas Cage) were two best friends growing up in South Philadelphia.  They have both returned from Vietnam damaged - Al with a face that had to be rebuilt and Birdy who has retreated into his own mind and won’t say anything.  Al is asked by the military doctors to try and get Birdy to respond to him.  If Birdy doesn't snap out of it, they will permanently put him away.  So, Al recalls all the great adventures they went on together as they were growing up, re-telling him the stories in an effort to get Birdy to respond.  This is a moving story that still is relevant today about how war can destroy people’s lives, both mentally and physically.   Both actors were just starting their careers, and Modine, especially, gives a touching and deeply felt performance.   My Rating: Full Price  Birdy Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of 300: Rise of an Empire:  Specialty Dummy Supplier

Coming Soon to a Theater Near YouThe Fault in Our Stars (2014) PG-13 Two teens meet and fall in love at a cancer support group.  Based on the best-selling novel, this film stars Shailene Woodley, who is quickly becoming one of the best young actresses of today.
Until Next Time!

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